Australian Dance Theatre

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Australian Dance Theatre
ADT Logo.jpg
"Australia's pre-eminent contemporary dance company"
General information
NameAustralian Dance Theatre
Year founded1965
Founding artistic directorDr. Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM
Principal venue57A Queen Street
Norwood, South Australia
South Australia
34°58′15″S 138°36′30″E / 34.9709°S 138.6083°E / -34.9709; 138.6083Coordinates: 34°58′15″S 138°36′30″E / 34.9709°S 138.6083°E / -34.9709; 138.6083
Artistic staff
Artistic Director

Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) is a contemporary dance company based in Adelaide, South Australia established in 1965 by Dr. Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM.[1][2] Dalman sought to "open the horizons for provocative contemporary and cutting edge dance".[1] The ADT was the first modern dance company in Australia and drew on the techniques of Martha Graham for its inspiration. Eleo Pomare was an early collaborator and the songs of Peter, Paul and Mary featured strongly in their early works, such as This Train.

The company has garnered 28 industry awards since 2002, was the first Australian company invited to the Edinburgh Festival and is the only Australian company to be invited to perform at Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. The company has toured performances extensively throughout Australia, Ireland, Korea, Canada, USA, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, Japan, Spain, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Norway and Colombia.


Artistic directors[edit]

Dalman led ADT from 1965 to 1975. After Dalman, Artistic Directors were: 1977-85 Jonathan Taylor (former dancer Ballet Rambert, UK),[3] 1986-87 jointly Anthony Steel of the Adelaide Festival of Arts and ADT dancer Lenny Westerdijk, 1987-93 Leigh Warren (now with Leigh Warren & Dancers), 1993-99 Meryl Tankard during which time the company was known as the "Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre".[4] Meryl Tankard left after disputes with the Board, Bill Pengelly was interim Artistic Director until the current Artistic Director, Garry Stewart began in 1999.[5][6]

  • Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM 1965-75
  • Johnathan Taylor 1977-85
  • Anthony Steel & Lenny Westerdijk 1986-87
  • Leigh Warren 1987-93
  • Meryl Tankard 1993-99
  • Bill Pengelly (interim)
  • Garry Stewart 1999–present

Elizabeth Dalman School of Modern Dance[edit]

Established in 1967 the school offered the public an insight into the company through classes, workshops, pre and post show forums/discussions. It also helped to fund the dance theatre in its infancy.

Choreographed by Dr. Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM:

  • Hallucinations (1966)
  • This Train (1966)
  • Landscape (1967)
  • Sundown (1967)
  • Sun and Moon (1968)
  • Homage to Boticelli (1969)
  • Creation (1969),
  • Release of an Oath (1972)

Choreographed by Jonathan Taylor:

  • Wildstars
  • Transfigured Night

Choreographed by Anthony Steel & Lenny Westerdijk:

Choreographed by Leigh Warren:

Choreographed by Meryl Tankard:

  • Re-worked pieces:
    • Songs with Mara
    • Kikimora
  • New works:
    • Furioso (1993)
    • Aurora (1994)
    • Possessed (1995)
    • Rasa (1996), (in collaboration with Padma Menon)
    • Seulle (1997)
    • Inuk (1997).
    • 1998 (sub-titled A Sampler by Meryl Tankard)

Choreographed by Bill Pengelly:

  • Split

Choreographed by Garry Stewart:

  • Housedance (performed on the outside of the main sail of the Sydney Opera House on New Year's Eve 1999)
  • Birdbrain (the most performed contemporary dance work in the history of Australian dance)
  • The Age of Unbeauty (2002 Australian Dance Awards Outstanding Choreographic Achievement)[7]
  • HELD (a collaboration with U.S. dance photographer Lois Greenfield[8] - 2004 Adelaide Bank Festival – Helpmann Award for Best Choreography in a Ballet or Dance Work)
  • Nothing
  • Vocabulary (a collaboration with Kat Worth and Restless Dance Theatre, South Australia)
  • Devolution (premiered at the 2006 Adelaide Festival and a collaboration with Canadian robotics artist Louis-Philippe Demers[9] – 2006 Helpmann Awards Best New Australian Work & Best Lighting)
  • Worldhood (a collaboration with Visual Artist - Thomas Buchanan)
  • G "Giselle" (premiered at the 2008 Adelaide Festival) G is a reworked representation of the 1800s ballet Giselle, without the pretty dancing peasants.
  • Collision Course (a collaboration with CM Films - Carmelo Musca, Western Australia)
  • Be Your Self (a collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, USA)
  • Proximity (a collaboration with Video Artist/Engineer - Thomas Pachoud, France)
  • Multiverse (created in collaboration with Deakin University, audiences view the performance through 3D glasses. Co-commissioned by La Rose des Vents, Villeneuve d’Ascq (France), Theater im Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen (Germany) and Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris (France)
  • Habitus (premiered at the 2016 Adelaide Festival - 2016 Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work (Kimball Wong)
  • Objekt (created in collaboration with Germany’s tanzmainz – the contemporary dance company of Staatstheater Mainz, lead by its Director Honne Dohrmann).
  • The Beginning of Nature (Acclaimed composer, Brendan Woithe, collaborated with Kaurna consultant, Jack Buckskin, to develop the original score which includes a libretto sung in Kaurna language, the first language of the Adelaide Plains, home to ADT)


  1. ^ a b "Elizabeth Cameron Dalman at Australia Dancing". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  2. ^ Dance pioneer returns to her roots, Stateline SA, ABC TV, Broadcast: 25 February 2005
  3. ^ Jonathan Taylor at Australia Dancing
  4. ^ Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre at Australia Dancing
  5. ^ "Garry Stewart at Australia Dancing". Archived from the original on 6 August 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  6. ^ Garry Stewart at ADT Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ ADT sweeps dance awards, The Age, 18 November 2002
  8. ^ Frozen moments of magic, The Daily Telegraph, 17 February 2007
  9. ^ Penelope Debelle, Closing gap between man and machine, The Age, 6 February 2006

External links[edit]